Global CEOs rank US ahead of China as more important market for growth – PwC survey

Global CEOs ranked the US ahead of China as an important market for growth for the first time in five years, according to the 2015 Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Some 38% of over 1,300 chief executive officers polled ranked the US as their most important market for growth over the next year. That put it ahead of China for the first time since the question was first asked in 2010.

The result reflects how the US economy is speeding up as China’s slows, reversing the forces which dominated the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis, said the report.

CEOs, however, were more pessimistic about the outlook for the global economy over the next 12 months than they were a year ago, the poll showed. Thirty-seven percent said the world economy will improve in 2015, down from 44% last year.

But CEOs were upbeat about the prospects for their own companies with 39% saying they are “very confident” revenue will grow this year.

“The world is facing significant challenges: economically, politically and socially,” said Dennis M Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International. “CEOs overall remain cautious in their near-term outlook for the worldwide economy, as well as for growth prospects for their own companies.”

Meanwhile, UK CEOs are more confident than their European peers, but the high levels of optimism seen last year have been tempered by concerns about access to key skills, disruptive trends and geopolitical uncertainty

Despite more caution there is a healthy appetite for M&A as more UK companies look to do deals overseas, the report also highlighted.

When asked about the most important countries for UK company growth in the coming year, 48% of UK CEOs said the US, followed by Germany (41%) and China (26%).

Some 61% of UK CEOs perceive greater growth opportunities for their companies today than there were three years ago. However, in the short term those least confident about the next 12 months has double since last year, rising from 7% to 15%.

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